Understanding Hospital Fees

Insured Costs

If you are insured under the Medical Services Plan of BC (MSP), the majority of costs incurred as a result of a hospital visit will be covered by this insurance. Costs that are not covered by MSP are billed to the patient directly. These uninsured costs include:

  • preferred accommodation
  • uninsured services
  • supplies
  • procedures requested by third parties

If you believe you have received a bill in error and have MSP coverage, call us immediately with your Care Card number.

Uninsured Costs Payable by Patient 

Preferred accommodation

If you request and are given a semi or private room, you (or your extended benefits) will be billed for the room at the appropriate room rate. 

Stays in hospital while awaiting long term care

You will be billed for a daily ward rate if you are waiting to transfer to a long term care home. This starts after a 30-day grace period (from the start of your wait) and will continue until the date of your transfer to a long term care facility.

Refusing discharge

If it is determined that you no longer require acute care services and are discharged, but refuse to leave you will be billed at the current ward rate set by the BC Ministry of Health for each night you remain in the hospital.

Medical supplies

Supplies, or miscellaneous charges, include but are not limited to – crutches, casts, splints, non-standard intraocular lenses, and non-standard hip or knee implants. These items are not covered by B.C. provincial health care and are items that are billable to the patient. We do not bill extended plans for these charges.


The Medical Services Plan of BC (MSP) covers tests that are medically required. Some tests are only covered if you meet the medical requirements. If you do not meet these requirements, you will be billed. 

Some tests ordered by third parties such as immigration/emigration departments, midwives, nurse practitioners or naturopaths are not covered by the Medical Services Plan of BC (MSP).

If you feel that you were incorrectly billed for a medically required test, have your doctor email patientbilling@islandhealth.ca with the details.

View more information on charges not covered by provincial health care on the BC Ministry of Health website.

Ambulance fees

Charges for BC Ambulance Service are not the responsibility of Island Health. If you have a concern, contact BC Ambulance Service. BC Ambulance Service bills can be paid at any major bank.

Emergency Department

If you are an uninsured, out-of-province, or out-of-country patient, visit our non-residents page.

In order for your visit to be covered, you must have valid provincial medical coverage. If you were billed but have MSP, please call us.